Theatrical release poster
Directed by Renny Harlin Produced by Cary Brokaw
Robert F. Newmyer
Screenplay by Wayne Kramer
Ehren Kruger (uncredited)
Story by Wayne Kramer Starring James Todd Smith aka LL Cool J
Jonny Lee Miller
Clifton Collins Jr.
Music by Tuomas Kantelinen Cinematography Robert Gantz Editing by Neil Farrell
Paul Martin Smith
Distributed by Dimension Films (US)
Columbia Pictures (non-USA)
Release date(s) March 19, 2004(Brussels)
May 13, 2005
Running time 106 minutes Country United States
Language English Box office $21,148,829
Mindhunters is a 2004 thriller film directed by Renny Harlin and written by Wayne Kramer and Kevin Brodbin (with an uncredited rewrite by Ehren Kruger). Unusually, the last country to receive this film was the United States in 2005, because of the film's distribution rights being changed from 20th Century Fox to Dimension Films.
The titular Mindhunters are a group of young FBI students who are undergoing training as profilers. They are tasked by their instructor Jake Harris (Val Kilmer) to travel to a small island off the coast of Virginia. This island is used as a training facility by the FBI and the military, and a mock town has been constructed there. Harris has arranged an elaborate training scenario for his students; they are to create a profile of a serial killer who has committed a murder there.
The students include Bobby (Eion Bailey) a young man with a talent for fixing things; Vince (Clifton Collins Jr.) a wheelchair-using ex-cop who goes nowhere without his gun; Nicole (Patricia Velasquez) a smoker who is attempting to quit; Sara (Kathryn Morris) a talented but insecure profiler who is also petrified of drowning; Gabe (James Todd Smith aka LL Cool J) an outside observer; Rafe (Will Kemp) a very intelligent, caffeine-powered British investigator; Lucas (Jonny Lee Miller) a supposedly fearless man whose parents were killed when he was a child; and J.D. (Christian Slater) their leader.
Once they arrive at the island and settle in, they begin their investigation the following day. The group encounters an elaborate, Rube Goldberg or Heath Robinson style trap; J.D.'s position of leadership prompts him to investigate it close-up, and the trap kills him via liquid helium. Convinced that this wasn't an accident, the group heads to the dock to leave the island. Another trap is triggered, this one destroying the boat docked there. Tensions run high among the group, and they find messages from the killer that indicate when more victims will be killed.
Throughout the movie, several more of the profilers are killed, in ways that correspond to their personalities: Rafe through his need for coffee (drugged; decapitated and drained of blood while unconscious); Bobby through his desire to repair things (harpooned by a device he triggered while trying to shut off a water valve); Nicole through her need for nicotine (after finding cigarettes in a vending machine, they turn out to be laced with a strong acid); and Vince through his need to have his gun handy (it had been rigged while he was unconscious to explosively misfire).
In between these events, the investigators use the resources at hand (including a fully stocked forensics lab and computer database) to process the clues they have (including blood samples and an elaborate cypher, written in Rafe's blood). Suspicions seem to point to Gabe because of a map of the island found next to his bed. He temporarily deflects this when he saves Vince from yet another trap, although this indirectly leads to Bobby's death. Later, the results of a blood analysis point to Sara, though, who denies being the killer; Lucas supports her. Nicole ultimately decides she cannot trust any of her colleagues and leaves while holding the others at gunpoint, resulting in her demise. Sara, meanwhile, finally deduces that the traps are based on their strengths, talents, and weaknesses and the remaining profilers elect to stick together, to keep an eye on each other. Unexpectedly, the island's speakers begin to broadcast a taunting message from none other than Harris, making them realize that he did not leave the island, though he led the profilers to believe that he had; convinced that he has been the killer all along, they search for him. Later, however, Sara, Gabe and Lucas find Harris and two other FBI agents next to him, all dead; Harris has been strung up to wires from the ceiling as a sort of marionette, just like the fake crime scene that they were to investigate. The three survivors quickly realize that the killer is one of them, and in the shootout that ensues, Vince is killed and Gabe seemingly takes out Lucas. Gabe and Sara then confront each other, each believing the other to be the serial killer. Lucas, who was wearing a bullet-proof vest, returns and jumps Gabe from behind. The two violently attack one another, eventually falling through a glass ceiling. Gabe starts to get up but is knocked unconscious by Sara, who then begins to tend to Lucas.
Sara explains to Lucas the trick up her sleeve: she set a trap taking into account the killer’s obsession with time. However, this reveals that Lucas, not Gabe, is the real mastermind. Lucas says he was the one who murdered his parents, but after no one suspected him, he grew bored and required more intelligent peers as worthy prey.
Lucas muses that Sara has another weakness besides a fear of water: "Me". Lucas tries to drown Sara, but she manages to kick him into the water and an underwater gunfight ensues. In the end, after a feigned drowning, Sara gains the upper hand and wounds Lucas. Intending to survive, Lucas begins to taunt her about the evidence he planted blaming her, until Gabe reappears: he is the remainder witness. In a last desperate effort, Lucas attempts to regain his weapon, forcing Sara to kill him.
The film ends with Sara and Gabe flagging down a helicopter together. As they move to board, Sara wonders whether or not she has achieved profiler status.
- James Todd Smith aka LL Cool J as Gabe Jensen
- Jonny Lee Miller as Lucas Harper
- Kathryn Morris as Sara Moore
- Patricia Velásquez as Nicole Willis
- Clifton Collins Jr. as Vince Sherman
- Eion Bailey as Bobby Whitman
- Will Kemp as Rafe Perry
- Val Kilmer as Jake Harris
- Christian Slater as J.D. Reston
- Trevor White as Attacker
- Cassandra Bell as Jen
- Jasmine Sendar as Jen's friend
- Anthone Kamerling as Man in bar
- Daniël Boissevain as Man in bar #2
Mindhunters was filmed entirely in the Netherlands. Locations included Amsterdam-Noord, The Hague, Amsterdam, Delft, Radio Kootwijk, Veluwe, Gelderland, and Zandvoort. Post-production of the film was moved to England to decrease the budget. Filming and production went from January 2002 to September 2002, yet the film was not released until 2004 (2005 in the USA). During the editing process, Harlin toned down much of the violence, in order to secure a PG-13 rating in the United States, yet the MPAA felt that the overall tone of the film was too dark and still issued it an R; following this Harlin reinserted the deleted scenes.
Mindhunters received generally negative reviews; it currently holds a 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the consensus states: "A retread of Ten Little Indians that lacks the source material's wit." On Metacritic, which uses an average of the critics' reviews, gives the film 33/100, indicating "generally unfavorable" reviews.
Roger Ebert, of The Chicago Sun-Times, gave Mindhunters 2½ stars; his last lines stated "I will leave you with only one clue. In "House of Wax," which opened last week, the movie theater is playing "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane." In this movie, the theater marquee advertises "The Third Man." No, the male characters are not numbered in order, so you can't figure it out that way, nor is the killer necessarily a woman. So think real hard. What else do you know about "The Third Man"? If you have never seen "The Third Man," I urge you to rent it immediately, as a preparation (or substitute) for "Mindhunters."
Certain international DVD distributors included deleted scenes not seen in the original theatrical release, which provides more character development and makes the film more complete. There are numerous sequences and the major ones are noted as follows:
- "Sara's Regret" - This scene expanded upon how vulnerable Sara was. The FBI agent's character is developed further. The setting has the agent behind a desk after cracking under the pressure of an intense field assignment. The scene is introspective in nature.
- "The Instructor's Office" - The scene is set in the FBI instructor's office for the character Jake Harris played by Val Kilmer. Harris speaks with Sara and J.D. The verbal communication between Harris and J.D. is professional and almost military in nature, but it is clear that Harris has doubts related to Sara's performance. The performance review is completed and in the process a caustic exchange transpires in which Harris directly questions her ability. This establishes Sara's potential motive.
- "Ride Along" - In a scene on the helicopter pad at the FBI training complex, Gabe and Jake speak in a caustic capacity before any of the agents arrive. Harris is ordered by his superiors to allow Gabe to observe his class and teaching methods. In this exchange Harris and Jensen makes their feelings plainly clear. This established a potential motive for the two.
- "Rappelling" - In a brief scene in the film personnel are seen rappelling out of a helicopter and securing a hot landing zone during a training exercise. This scene set the stage for later in the film when Harris tells his class to get their rappelling lines out of the back of the helicopter when nearing Oniega. The joke then seems more intense and relevant.
- "The ending" - Several variations of the ending were filmed. One of them included Jake Harris and numerous others included modified character development from the final theatrical ending.
- ^ "Mindhunters (2005)". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=mindhunters.htm. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
- ^ Mindhunters at Rotten Tomatoes
- ^ Mindhunters at Metacritic
- ^ Roger Ebert (2005-05-12). "Mindhunters :: rogerebert.com :: reviews". rogerebert.com. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050512/REVIEWS/50504003. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
- ^ Mindhunters (2004) - Alternate versions (IMDb)
- Mindhunters at the Internet Movie Database
- Mindhunters at AllRovi
- Mindhunters at Box Office Mojo
- Mindhunters at Rotten Tomatoes
- Mindhunters at Metacritic
Films directed by Renny Harlin 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s5 Days of War (2011)
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